Badges to be pinned on 34 new Saint Paul police officers tonight

After enduring a 17-week academy filled with physical tests and professional training, 34 women and men will have their Saint Paul Police Department badges pinned to their uniforms tonight. 

The department will hold a graduation ceremony for its most recent graduating class at
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at Harding High School (1540 6th St. E., Saint Paul).

The 34 recruits began the academy in August and spent the next several months in studying in classrooms, refining their skills through hands-on activities and preparing for their new jobs in scenario-based exercises. In addition, the group volunteered a combined 133 hours of time at community events, beyond the 680 hours they spent in the academy. While the training was required for graduation, the community service was not.

Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said he is extremely proud of the newest recruits, who hail from seven countries, speak 11 different languages and “embody determination, kindness and philanthropy.”

“The recruits have worked hard to demonstrate their knowledge and skills,” he said. “But they also showed that they share the values required to serve our community—exceptional character, an unwavering commitment to doing what’s right and a desire to help people in need.

“These women and men are ready to deliver trusted service with respect to our diverse community.”

The graduating class includes:

  • People from the United States, Honduras, Cambodia, France, Somalia, Ethiopia, Laos and the Philippines
  • People who speak English, Hmong, Spanish, Khmer, French, American Sign Language, Tagalog, Visayan, Oromo, Somali and Swahili
  • 31 males and three females
  • 19 people of color.

With more than 55 percent of the graduates being people of color, Axtell notes that this is among the most diverse class in the 163-year history of the department.

The newly sworn-in officers will begin working on Saint Paul’s streets on Saturday, Dec. 17.

The police department invites the public to attend tonight’s ceremony and welcome their new officers to the community.